Caroline Fallon provides an insight into the risk factors for pressure injuries/ulcers, current guidance on prevention and management, as well as the importance of early detection.
She argues that technology can help assist healthcare practitioners in this task, which could ultimately lead to improved outcomes and reduced costs for the healthcare sector.
As patients age and acuity levels continue to rise, increasing frailty, complex underlying chronic diseases and rising obesity can add to the daily challenges faced by clinicians. These challenges include pressure injuries/ ulcers (PI/PU); wounds characterised by localised injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue, usually over a bony prominence as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear.1 Pressure injuries/ulcers can have a significant impact on patients, they can cause suffering and morbidity2, reduce quality of life3 and pain.4
For carers, over 90% of the cost of treating pressure injuries/ulcers is nursing time.5 For healthcare organisations the treatment of pressure injuries/ulcers can increase length of stay in hospital up to 5-8 days6 and is estimated to cost the NHS £3,800,000 a day.7 In Ireland, it was estimated to cost the HSE €250 million across all healthcare settings per annum8 – which, when broken down per day, is approximately €684,000.
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